Six tips for creating a graduate CV in 2023 | iQ Thrive Academy

iQ Thrive Academy

You might’ve had a part time job at uni, but when you’re looking to start your first graduate career, you’ll need to update your CV. It’s the first impression you’ll give to recruiters, so it’s important to get it right.

Here are six tips for building a good CV in 2023.

You don’t need a personal profile on your CV

For a long time, an objective or personal profile was at the top of everyone’s CV. Nowadays, recruiters don’t really want to see them.

Cut to the chase and go straight into what makes you relevant for the job. Your recruiter will know what you’re after – that’s why you’re applying to their job listing.

If you really want to make it clear who you are and where you’re headed, one line under your name at the top should do the trick. If your work experience doesn’t make it clear what you’re looking for, then a little more context might be acceptable. But, with limited space in your CV now that one side of A4 is preferred, maximise the space you have elsewhere to sell yourself.

Be concise and cut unnecessary words

You don’t have a lot of space. Every word counts.

If you can use numbers to demonstrate something, do that.

Use bullet points to break up text, make it easy to scan and ensure you’re only using the necessary words.

You can often get rid of the words “I”, “a” and “the”, e.g. “I created a new system to measure our customers’ feedback after their shopping trips” can become “created new system to measure customers’ feedback”.

Key information should be obvious in 7 seconds

Recruiters typically take less than 10 seconds to judge a CV, with most recruiters taking between six and seven seconds to either pass or reject and applicant.

Your CV needs to be easy to scan. So, use bullet points, section headers, and change up your text weight to show what’s important and help recruiters to find exactly what they’re looking for. Keeping your text concise will also help with scanning.

Write with your future career in mind

Make sure you’re focusing on what makes you relevant for the job you’re applying to.

Your CV shouldn’t just be documenting your past. You need to sell yourself for the future. So, choose the best parts of your achievements and work experience that match to the job you want to see yourself in.

If you need to strengthen an empty CV, you can include achievements and experiences that speak to your character, but try to minimise what’s not relevant.

A CV (generally) isn’t the place for a headshot

If you’re not going for an audition, then you don’t need a headshot when applying to jobs in the UK.

Your appearance shouldn’t matter for the graduate job you’re applying to. Including a headshot on your CV can come across as unprofessional or juvenile, so you might be penalised for having one no matter how good the content on your CV is.

Use the limited space you have to sell your skills instead.

Tailor your CV for each job

Your CV needs to show that you’re suitable for each job that you apply for. Different companies and different roles will have different requirements. So, it’s best to tailor your CV to each job so that you’re giving yourself the best chance to match their requirements.

Use job descriptions to match keywords and phrases in your CV. Make your experience relevant and research the company to know what’s important to them. You’ll want to make these things stand out in your own CV so that recruiters can easily see your suitability in 7 seconds.